Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Within the modern field of Religious Studies, there exists an epistemological divide between structuralist and post-structuralist thought. Structuralists seek to find underlying and universally applicable knowledge about religion, while post-structuralists argue that traditions must be studied within their own specific geographic, temporal, and cultural contexts. In an aim to reconcile these two disparate paradigms, I introduce the Religio-Biological Model and apply it to two distinct religious traditions: the Maori and the Vaisnava Sahajiya. Drawing from both religious and biological theory (specifically multilevel selection theory), this thesis seeks to create an interdisciplinary framework for the future study of religion that cohesively binds together culture, history, and biology. Through this introduction of a common epistemological model, divisions within and between academic disciplines can be reduced.
Highland, Benjamin, "Evolutionary Competition as Religion: A Religio-Biological Model of the Maori and Vaisnava Sahajiya Traditions" (2018). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1194.
Behavior and Ethology Commons, Comparative Methodologies and Theories Commons, Epistemology Commons, Evolution Commons, Hindu Studies Commons, History of Religions of Eastern Origins Commons, Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Commons, Other Religion Commons, Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion Commons, Research Methods in Life Sciences Commons